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A police oversight committee will investigate an incident in Alberta earlier this month when a woman dressed as a Star Wars character was taken to the ground by officers who had guns drawn.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team will investigate the May 4 incident, which made international headlines after video of the encounter went viral. It showed a woman dressed as a Stormtrooper carrying a toy gun facing Lethbridge officers, who drew their guns on her before taking her to the ground and bloodying her face, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported. The 19-year-old woman was in costume for a business promotion for May 4, aka Star Wars Day.
“ASIRT’s role in a review is to provide an objective, independent, critical examination and assessment of an investigation to confirm that it was properly conducted using best practices and ensure all appropriate investigative steps were taken,” Lethbridge police said, according to the CBC. “Once the review is complete, the file is returned to the home agency with any recommendations that ASIRT may have made. Those recommendations could relate to specific steps that could or should be pursued in the investigation or broader practice or policy recommendations.”
Actor William Shatner, a native Canadian, was one of the loudest celebrity voices criticizing police for their actions. “Rifles drawn for a plastic toy Cosplayer? Didn’t comply right away? Are you blind Chief? Watch the video to see how quickly she complied. This cannot be covered up,” he said, in part, May 6.
On Wednesday, the actor rejoiced over news of the watchdog investigation. “Looks like they will actually look into it!” Shatner said via Twitter.
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